Overcoming the 3 Key Challenges to Digital Transformation

In our position as a trusted advisor to hundreds of Dell Technologies customers, Dell EMC Consulting has developed a unique set of insights into the critical factors that drive success (and failure) of transformation initiatives. Nowhere is this truer than in Digital Transformation, where Dell EMC Consulting works closely with customers to deliver the business value and outcomes from their technology investments.

We recently took a step back to assess the common patterns and themes we’re seeing globally with our customers driving Digital Transformation efforts. While our consulting teams identified over 20 common issues that we’ve seen across our Digital Transformation customers, the top three challenges are nearly the same in every customer.

Most organizations struggle with the best way to:

  • Accelerate the value and business outcomes from their Digital Transformation initiatives.
  • Enable new architectures that support business innovation without sacrificing performance, reliability or security.
  • Drive organizational change and build the new skills and behaviors required to enable durable, scalable transformation.

Perhaps not surprisingly the themes are not focused on technology per se, but on the people and process dimension of Digital Transformation. More on each below.

Accelerate Value

The top challenge most of our customers face with Digital Transformation is not around understanding what they’re trying to achieve or the business outcomes they’re trying to deliver. It’s about getting there faster. It’s about prioritizing the plethora of opportunities and uses cases and generating business value from transformation investments as quickly as possible.

In our experience accelerating value from Digital Transformation requires organizations to develop new ‘innovation engines,’ which require three key competencies:

  • Cloud Application Development – first, enterprises must leverage containers and cloud platforms that enable ‘smarter’ software that generates new sources and types of data.
  • Big Data Analytics – next, organizations must have the ability to discover insights and monetize this data using advanced analytics.
  • DevOps and CI/CD Pipelines – finally, enterprises must have the ability to continuously deliver new and enhanced software and services via Agile, DevOps and CI/CD pipelines.

Accelerating value delivery requires all three components, which creates a virtuous cycle that dramatically reduces the time from ‘concept to cash.’

Dell EMC Consulting is uniquely positioned to help our customers across all three of these components. In addition to helping our customers modernize and re-platform key business applications using containers, PaaS platforms and cloud native architectures, our Big Data Analytics practice helps customers build and implement AI and Machine Learning models to drive insights. Our DevOps and Infrastructure as Code practice helps customers drive the practices, processes and toolchains required to deliver CI/CD pipelines required to support an innovation engine.

Enable New Architectures

Digital Transformation involves new, modern cloud platforms and solutions designed to support the volumes of data and analytics required to enable true ‘innovation engines.’ These platforms and solutions cannot, however, come at the expense of scalability, reliability, and security. At Dell EMC Consulting we often see organizations struggle with the dual challenge of enabling innovation with new Digital platforms while still meeting performance and quality expectations.

These digital platforms need to provide the infrastructure, resources and services throughout the compute environment; at the edge, core and the cloud, to support new IOT use cases. Concurrently, they also need to provide the cloud application and analytics services to monetize data and insights. Increasingly these analytics services and environments need to be provided on-demand, so business analysts and data scientists can quickly turn insights into business value.

Given the imperative to Accelerate Value, organizations cannot follow the traditional IT model of building new platforms at scale and hoping the business will adopt. Enterprises need to incrementally deploy thin ‘vertical slices’ of new capabilities that provide the minimum viable services required to enable priority business use cases, rather than deploying broad horizontal platform capabilities.  Enabling capabilities and services are incrementally extended over time, ensuring alignment with market demands, maximizing business value and outcomes while minimizing investment risks.

Dell EMC Consulting works with our customers to design, architect and optimize digital solutions that leverage the full Dell Technologies portfolio, including hardware, software and solutions from Pivotal and VMware and our partners. With our Ready Solutions and ability to rapidly deliver roadmaps and proofs of concepts (POCs), Dell EMC Consulting enables customers to rapidly get a sense of ‘art of the possible’ with the Dell Technologies portfolio.

Drive Organizational Change

The biggest challenge our customers almost universally face with Digital Transformation is driving behavior, cultural and organizational change. To be successful, enterprises need to embrace the fact that innovation and disruption requires experimentation, risk and failure.  A new ‘fail fast’ mentality is required that often is uncomfortable in many organizations existing culture.

While Digital Transformation certainly requires strong top-down executive sponsorship and support, at Dell EMC Consulting we have found that success also requires a strong ‘bottom-up’ focus on changing frontline behavior. Even in the largest global enterprises, change often starts with just a single team that builds new technical skills and adopts new processes and behaviors. The initial members of this team then go on to lead their own teams, and so on. In conjunction with Executive support, recognition and celebration of ‘quick wins’, this organic process can scale exponentially.

With our unique Digital Transformation engagement model, Dell EMC Consulting helps our customers drive durable, scalable organizational change. Our consultants work side-by-side on joint customer teams in a pairing model to coach and build new technical skills and drive change in processes and behaviors. As our customers build capabilities and momentum, the focus of Dell EMC Consulting shifts from engagement leadership and paired delivery to mentoring to coaching.


Dell EMC Consulting is focused on helping our customers address the critical people and process challenges they face when driving Digital Transformation. Please click here for more information on our services, capabilities and customer case studies, and check back soon for more posts that will dive deeper on the three topics above.

About the Author: Scott Bils

Scott is a Senior Director in the Dell Technologies Consulting Services organization. In his role leading the Americas Digital Transformation Practice he is responsible for services in the areas of Cloud Native Applications, DevOps / Infrastructure as Code, Big Data Analytics and IOT. Scott blogs and speaks frequently on the topics of application, cloud and digital transformation. Prior to Dell Technologies Scott co-founded a leading boutique consultancy focused on helping large enterprises and service providers navigate the issues associated with cloud and ITaaS transformation. Scott was also the Founding CEO at Conformity, a venture-backed provider of the first enterprise-class management and governance platform for cloud applications. Prior to Conformity Scott held senior executive roles at Scalable Software and Troux Technologies, and also worked at McKinsey and Co. and Accenture. Scott holds a Masters Degree in Business Administration from the University of Chicago and a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Finance from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.